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Kashgar Introduction

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Kashgar Prefecture, with a total area of 162,000 kilometers, lies between latitude 350 to 408 north and longitude 730 to 797 east in the southern part of Xinjiang. Kashi city, a place of strategic importance in south Xinjiang, has an area of 15 square kilometers with an average elevation of 1289.5 meters. The city is located between latitude 395 to 295 north and longitude 756 to 764 east and lies 1,473 kilometers from the city of Urumqi.

Located in the plain climate zone with the clear four seasons, Kashi has a long summer and a short winter. The annual mean temperature in Kashi is 11.7 , with the lowest temperature of -24.4 in January and the hottest 40.1 in July. The frost-free period averages 215 days.



Kashi prefecture was called Shule in ancient times and it has a history of more than two thousand years. According to the record of the Persian Epic, Afulabuseyav, an ancient Tulan hero, established the capital of his kingdom here. In the beginning of the Han Dynasty, it belonged to the Zhuangpu Prefecture General's Office of the Hun. In the latter half of the second century B.C., after the Han Dynasty Emperor Wudi sent Zhang Qian as his special envoy to the Western Region, Kashi submitted to the authorities of the Western Han Dynasty. During the first century, Kashi was the supreme headquarters of Ban Chao, an imperial general who administered the Western Region. But at the end of the Sui Dynasty and in early Tang Dynasty, Kashi had to pay taxes and levies frequently to the Western Turkish Khanate. During the reign of the Tang Dynasty Emperor Taizong and afterwards, it was an important military stronghold of the Tang government. Kashi was one of the four important towns in Anxi at the time; thus it was made the seat of the Shule Superintendent's Office. The Karakhanid Dynasty also established its capital in Kashgar. Before Genghis Khan went on his western expedition, Kashgar was the south capital of the Western Liao Regime established by Khitans. After Khan's western expedition was over, Kashgar became the fief of the crown prince of Chagatai. During the reign of theQing Dynasty Emperor Qianlong, Kashgar became the seat of government of the Kashgar Councilor of the Qing government.

Kashgar (Kashi) is situated in the southwest of Xinjiang. From the west, this is the first point of arrival on land routes from Pakistan and Kirgyzistan.  For a long time a vital stop on the Silk Road, this remote city some 4,000 km from Beijing, used to take up to six months to reach from the capital! This all changed in the 1930s when Kashgar became a crucial meeting point for three empires- the Chinese, the British and the Soviet Union. A haven for spies and housing some fabulous consulate buildings, this city was used as a bastion by the Brits looking west towards India, and the Soviets, thought to be plotting to absorb Xinjiang. In 1935, the city was effectively run by the Soviets until WWII when it came back under Chinese control.

Today, despite modernization and architectural decline, the city manages to meet most visitors expectations. The most striking thing about Kashgar is the Turkestan influence visible on the streets and in the homes here. This place feels, looks and even smells dramatically different from the rest of China, more so than any other city in Xinjiang. And this is no great surprise really, considering that 90% of the population are practicing Muslims and Uigur bazaars, tea houses and faces dominate the streets. What's more, this is the only city in Central Asia where the women choose to veil their faces. The old streets, restaurants and markets here are great for exploring. The city is particularly busy between May and October---jam packed with merchants and traders hot-off the Karakoram Highway from Pakistan and Kirgyistan.

POPULATION AND NATIONALITIES

    Kashi Prefecture has a population of 3.3 million, of which the Uygur nationality comprises 92.92 percent, the Han, 5.6 percent and the Tajik, 1.03 percent, with the other 0.45 percent made up of Hui, Kirgiz, Ozbek, Kazak, Manchu, Xibe, Mongol, Tatar and Daur nationalities.
The city of Kashar has a population of 200,000, 74.62 percent of which is
Uyghur and 24.32 percent of which is Han Chinese and other minorities.

Products: wheat, maize cotton, barley, highland barley, rape, sesame, peanuts and flax

Local Highlights: kashgar's local songs and dance ,crafts, roast lamb, shishi-kebab, and baled fish

Transportation: Kashgar, located in the western part of China, has been the transportation hub in southern Xinjiang for thousands of years. It was in fact the strategic point of the Silk Road in the ancient time, connecting China with Eurasia. However, it still maintains its importance nowadays with comparatively good transport system. It is easily accessible by air, train and bus from Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang. There are even daily flights to Urumqi and also international airline services to Islamabad, Osh and Andijan from this airport.

On the other hand, there are several regular daily train and bus services plying between Urumqi and Kashgar. Its developed highway, centred at Kashgar City, extends to 8 directions: northeast to Aksu, Korla, Turpan; southeast to Shule, Hetian, Yengisar, Ye Cheng; east to Dunhuang in Gansu Province and Golmud of Qinghai Province. There is also Zhong-Ba International Highway (China to Pakistan) leading to Pakistan as well.

Karakuri Lake – It is 190km from Kashgar. It is rare highland lake in the world. By the lake ,there are yurst and restaurant available for tourists to stop and over night. In a day, you get a good view of Muztagh Ata and Kongur and snow-cappad peaks, flocks of animals, grassland are all invertedly reflected in the water, which looks magistic.

Located at the southwestern corner of the Tarim Basin , Kashgar is the westernmost town in China . To the north, west and south are the lofty Tianshan Mountains and Kunlun Mountains , its eastern side is connected weth undulating flat Tarim Basin and Taklamkan Desert . By crossing the high mountain passes in the west and south, merchants and envoys could go to the Central Asian and the Mediterranean areas. Today, in order to retrace the routes of our ancestors, tourists have come in or out of China through these passes too. The Id kah Mosque and the Abahoja Mausoleum are frequently visited by tourists, and the largest free market in China Sunday Bazaar is a highlight to tourists too. When you are strolling on the several century old streets and the tinkling and jingling handicraft-streets, you will see the things that you have never seen before!